Poll: Nearly 9 in 10 Oregonians Say Indoor Dining Should Stay Open

Nearly 90% of Oregonians say indoor dining should remain open, as vaccination rates continue to increase statewide while new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations trend (slowly) in the opposite direction.

Authored by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, which has been a vocal opponent of the shutdowns of the industry shutdowns that Governor Kate Brown has instituted several times since the pandemic began, the survey polled almost 1,000 residents between April 26 and May 5.

The finding was announced Friday, May 7 — the same day Brown’s latest indoor dining ban was lifted after being in place only one week in Clackamas, Multnomah and 13 other counties.

At the time, she promised that she would not close restaurants and bars in Oregon again — assuming that expected trends continued.

“With Oregonians continuing to get vaccinated each week, my expectation is that we will not return to extreme risk again for the duration of this pandemic,” Brown said.

Greg Astley, ORLA’s government affairs director, said in a press release that the new survey suggests Oregonians “understand what is at stake for their favorite local restaurants.”

“We have 88% of survey respondents stating they feel they should have the choice whether to dine inside a restaurant or not right now,” Astley said. “The sentiment against indoor dining closures at this stage is clearly reaching a feverish pitch.”

Astley said more than 1,000 restaurants have closed in Oregon during the pandemic — though the Canby dining scene has survived largely intact so far, thanks to the support of the local community and the persistence of owners and operators. The impact on hospitality workers has also been severe.

Astley hoped the reopening of indoor dining just before Mother’s Day — restaurants’ largest sales day of the year in normal times — would help many establishments that continue to struggle.

Astley called on Oregonians to help prevent further government restrictions by getting vaccinated and continuing to support local restaurants.

“These are the places where you’ve celebrated your birthday, had your first date and enjoyed Mother’s Day brunch every year,” he said. “More indoor dining restrictions would result in more permanent closures of these businesses that are part of the fabric of our lives and communities.”

For more information about getting the vaccine, Clackakamas County and the state have websites that offer help finding and making an appointment.

Those interested in taking the vaccine may also register with the state at getvaccinated.oregon.gov to be notified of appointments when they are available in your area.

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